Monday, July 29, 2013

Race Recap: BTN Big 10K

I caught notice of the BTN Big 10K too late in 2012, so I watched patiently this spring for the date announcement and registration to open. I'm a big football fan - specifically the Big Ten since my team is Wisconsin. I recruited some running friends to make the journey to Chicago with me for the 2nd annual BTN Big 10K (there is also a 5K).  Little did we know that the 3 hour drive would take us nearly 6 hours this trip. Ugh, construction traffic.

By time I got to the packet pickup on Friday, I was too cranky tired to take in the jovial atmosphere. The mascots were all there, putting on a little show when I arrived. Music was blasting and people were dancing. I scored a big hug from Bucky (Wisconsin mascot) and scooted through quickly, anxious to reach my hotel.

The next morning, we were up early (4:45am!), cabbed it down to Adler Planetarium, where the start and finish line were. I was expecting this race to be a sweat-fest; but the Midwest is experiencing an atypical COLD spell for late July. Morning temps were in the 50's, chilly just standing around but great for running!
Early morning on Chicago's lakeshore
I've run enough of these big city events to know that it's chaos. Lots of people, not enough room, long lines... patience required. It's nearly impossible to ever have a fast time or PR. I went into the BTN Big 10K looking for a fun environment, a comfortable paced run, and a good time with my friends. I got all that plus some great swag! The race was $45 and I certainly got my money's worth. Each registrant got a school-specific tech shirt, drawstring bag and chip-time bib. At the finish line, we also received a cool medal, sweat towel, beer and good tailgate food (the chicken sausages on a pretzel bun were delicious!). Plus, each Big Ten university had a tent onsite, where you scored a pair of sunglasses and other school specific swag.

I got school spirit; yes I do!   I got spirit; how about you?

The corrals entrances were a bit difficult to find, but we eventually squeezed into one. There were 7000+ runners in the 10K starting at 7am, and then another 4000 in the 5K which started an hour later. Yeah, a lot of people... so shocking when I say the start was slow. I purposely didn't wear my watch, but know our first mile was the slowest.  I really didn't care and just tried to run a comfortable talking pace.

According to the race chip, my first 5K split was 29:50 (9:36 pace). At mile three, there was a water slip 'n slide, which we bypassed due to the cool weather. This would have been an awesome treat on a normal 90 degree July day. Based on our finish time, we obviously picked up the pace on the way back. At the halfway turn, we entered the lakeshore path and had nice views all the way back to the finish line...

Honestly, my only disappointment with this race was the spectators at the finish. I've run many races in the past few years and this was the oddest thing ever. The finishing stretch was packed with spectators... that were absolutely QUIET. It was so weird. At one point, my running buddy KO yelled out, "Make some noise people!"

Official Chip Time 58:26
Avg pace 9:24
Overall #3597 out of 7269
Women #1386 out of 3937

Big Ten Finishers = Happy Winners!
Five friends representing three different schools
 We hung out for the tailgate after the race - drank our free beer, danced to the music, and indulged on food (forgetting that I only ran a 10k, not a marathon!). We walked the lakeshore path back to our hotel, taking in all the tourist sites of Chicago. It sure is a fun city to visit, but go on record that I would never move here. Too big for this country gal.

Jess on top of Chicago!


  1. This is definitely going on my race calendar for next year!!

  2. Its on my bucket list to run SOMETHING in Chi-town...I would love to run the full or one of the half marathons but I dunno. I don't think I could get hubby to go out there with me since he hates the crowds. Also its not cheap to run in Chicago. I would almost have to have a girlfriend convince me to come out there myself :)

  3. Sounds like fun! I live in the Chicago suburbs, so I may have to add this one to my list for next summer!

  4. Sounds like a fun race. Glad you enjoyed the festivities and wore your Wisconsin shirt! :)

  5. That looks like SO MUCH FUN! We have a run for BSU around here, called "beat coach pete" that I want to do next year. =)

  6. Sounds like a really fun race, and a smart way to approach it. Could have been a lot more stressful methinks.

  7. This sounds like an awesome race for the avid Badger fan I am...who also loves Chicago! I am going to save it for my race calendar for next year. Love reading your blog. I'm from the midwest, so your local races are close enough for me to consider in the future. Go Badgers!

  8. I saw you jammin' out to Cotton Eye Joe after the race!!:) I thought about saying hi and telling you I was one of your readers, but you were having so much fun with your friends I decided not to ruin your moment;) Glad you had fun! I did the 5K, and I will definitely be back next year. Thought it was a great race!!

  9. I'm actually watching a race recap show on TV right now and can't believe the huge crowd! So glad you had a fun time!


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